Former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi von Ruben lifted the inaugural PinkStig Invitational title at the Lost City, but the day belonged to legendary Major champion Sally Little, who was inducted into the South African Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.
Little became the first South African woman golfer to receive this honour and her memorable achievement was celebrated in the Warrior Hall of the Sun International Convention Centre at Sun City.
“I am proudly South African, always have been and always will be and this is an incredibly special moment for me,” Little said. “To be inducted in the South African Hall of Fame here in my home country after these years means the absolute world to me.”
The induction honours a prolific amateur and professional career spanning 28 years.
Little won a slew of amateur titles, including the SA Women’s Matchplay and Stroke titles before the age of 18.
After Little finished fifth in her first professional event, the Lady Carling Open, she decided to ply her craft on the LPGA Tour, shortly after being named the South African sportsman of the year in 1970.
She made an immediate impression, qualifying for LPGA Tour status in only seven events and was rewarded at the end of her first season with the LPGA tour rookie of the year award.
In 1976, she holed a 75-foot bunker shot at the final hole of the Women’s International to celebrate her maiden win with a one-shot victory.
She amassed 12 titles between 1979 and 1982, including her first Major title at the 1980 LPGA Championship.
Consistently ranked in the top five in the world over the next 10 years, Little added the Du Maurier to her Major titles and pushed her tally on the LPGA Tour to 15 victories. Her supremacy was evident even in South Africa when she scored a runaway victory in the inaugural SA Women’s Masters in 1996.
South Africa boasts seven male Major winners but by and large, Little remains the country’s most successful female golfer.
It was this accomplishment that earned Little a spot among the country’s top sport stars in the South African Hall of Fame.
“Our mantra is to celebrate, inspire and empower and we strive to tell the stories of extraordinary achievers,” said SA Hall of Fame chairperson Johnny Burger.
“We celebrate the holistic accomplishments of the individual and not only their talent, skill and successes. Through this, we strive to inspire individuals to dream and reach their full potential, which puts them in the position to make a difference in South Africa.
“We aspire to excellence on all fronts and to be authentic and true to oneself. This will pave the way for a content human being and to leaving a legacy.”
Little has collaborated with Unimedia Pro, Sun International and PinkStig to raise awareness for women’s golf in South Africa this year while promoting her book, Capturing the Fire.